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Full text of "The History Of Western Education"

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In this community, there would be no passive obedience, no
punishments, no rewards.  Everyone would work whole-heartedly
for the good of all.   The result would be that when the children
grew up, they would be prepared for all the exigencies of individual
and social life, and would carry into their new tasks the spirit of
the educational State.   Every child ought to belong to this com-
munity, whatever his rank or social position.   The new education,
unlike the old, must not be confined to the so-called cultured
classes.   The common people, being the most considerable and
the most important setion of the State, must no longer be left
uneducated.   Not only so, but the manual training which had
hitherto been the only training given to them, ought to form
part of the education of all children, to make them self-sufficient
and able to contribute to the common good.   Finally, the two
sexes should be brought up together, and should receive the
same instruction in all matters except those peculiar to their sex.
The juvenile community would not be a real training ground for
actual life on any other conditions.   Towards the end of the
Addresses, Fichte found himself compelled to raise the question
of the practicability of his educational scheme.   The answer he
gave to those inclined to be critical was that all that was essential
in it had already been put into practice by Pestalozzi.   " It was
the reading of his works, and constant meditation on his ideas,"
he said, " that suggested my own system to me.   In spite of
obstacles of every kind, Pestalozzi, inspired by a mighty and
invincible sentiment, the love of the poor and the outcast, has
succeeded in making an intellectual discovery that is destined to
revolutionize the world.   He has sought an education for the
common people, and by the force of his genius and his love he has
created a true national education that is capable of rescuing the
nations and humanity as a whole from the deplorable situation
into which they have now fallen."*

It is doubtful whether Fichte's ideas about educational reform
would have made much impression at an ordinary time. Apart
from the somewhat extravagant proposal for communistic training,
they contained little that was new; and what was new in them was
for the most part vague. But, appearing at a time of crisis when
there was a general readiness to accept any suggestion that gave
promise of national solidarity, they set the statesmen of Germany
* Ninth Address.